May 27, 2011
Armchair BEA: Blogging & Social Networking
This post is part of my week-long participation in Armchair BEA 2011.
Today’s topic is blogging about blogging, which... is pretty broad. There are lot of different directions this topic can go in, but I thought I would focus in on social networking. I took a social software and libraries class in library school, so I definitely have a lot of thoughts about (and interest in) social networking.
The first thing I want to talk about is Twitter, because Twitter seems to be key in promoting your blog and especially in connecting to other bloggers. Definitely some of the best blogger connections I’ve made have been through Twitter. I’ve also received review book opportunities from being on Twitter. Twitter is a lot of fun, and it is a great source of information about giveaways, upcoming books, etc. There are so many benefits to being on Twitter, but there are also some downsides (or maybe not downsides, but precautions you should take).
You have to realize that when you’re on Twitter as a blogger everything is public (unless you have your tweets set to private, of course, but most bloggers don’t). You might want to think twice before you post really personal information (and I don’t mean just basic Web safety things like your full name and address – you know the kinds of information I mean, right?). Your professional contacts could potentially see anything you post on Twitter, so you probably want your Twitter account to remain relatively professional. This doesn’t mean you need to be boring, but keeping your content at a PG-13(ish) level? Probably a good idea. Do you want your mother to view what you’re posting on Twitter? No? Well, then you probably shouldn’t post it at all. Heck, the Library of Congress is archiving all public tweets. Do you want future generations to see what you’re posting? (Scary thought, right?) Just be intelligent and realize how public everything is. If you have a book blog and you link your blog to your Twitter account then you’re not just tweeting for fun: it’s part of the way you’re presenting yourself to fellow bloggers, authors, publishers, etc.
Another thing I view as social networking is comments. Everyone loves comments, right? I know sometimes commenting can be a drag when you’re seeing reviews for the same books over and over again, or when you’re busy. But commenting really can be simple. If you’re reading a post, why not comment on it? You might be shy or think you don’t have a lot to add to the conversation, but I bet any blogger will tell you that every comment they receive means something to them (minus those “Nice review! Visit my blog [URL here]” comments, because they suck).
I visit the blog of every person who visits my site (minus those people I just referenced - although sometimes I visit them too) and I leave a comment on at least one recent post even if I don’t end up following them in Google Reader. I do this because I appreciate comments so much, and I want to return the favour. You could call this a mutually beneficial relationship, or maybe it’s just reciprocal... I’m not sure, but I know that I think comments are a very important way to connect to other bloggers and to get to know their personalities and preferences.
Blogs are, of course, a form of social software themselves, so I think the whole concept of blogging lends itself well to connecting in other ways. Do you have any rules you try to follow when using social networking sites like Twitter? What are your favourite ways to combine blogging and social networking?